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Study Shows Meditation Does Ease Stress
Posted on 2001/7/23 23:47:02 ( 657 reads )

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Banana Targeted By Gene Code Crackers
Posted on 2001/7/23 23:46:02 ( 670 reads )


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LONDON, ENGLAND, July 21, 2001: The banana will be the next major food crop to have its entire collection of genes decoded, an international consortium of scientists has announced. The banana genome should allow researchers to develop strains that are more resistant to disease and which require fewer agrochemicals to be applied during their cultivation. Researchers also have high hopes for the banana as a so-called nutraceutical -- its natural packaging could make it an ideal way to transport and consume drugs. The newly founded Global Musa (Banana) Genomics Consortium stated that due to historical propagation techniques, cultivated bananas have been at a near evolutionary standstill for thousands of years and lack the genetic diversity needed to fight off disease. Scientists hope also to acquire much general information that will help them understand how plants grow.




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Tony Brown Apologizes to Hindus
Posted on 2001/7/23 23:45:02 ( 653 reads )


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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, July 24, 2001: In the aftermath of a controversial radio broadcast on Hinduism -- reported first by J.V. Lakshmana Rao in India Tribune -- TV and radio talk show host Tony Brown apologized to Hindus, and said he plans to broaden sympathies between Indian Americans and others in the US. "The truth is I made a mistake," Brown told India Tribune in an interview. "The errors I made were made out a misunderstanding of Hinduism, not out of malice. I guarantee you, I will be more sensitive." An example of what he said is: "After the death of Mother Teresa, all Christian nuns in India were systematically persecuted." Brown is one of the best known black commentators in the US. His TV show, Tony Brown's Journal, is the longest running TV series in the history of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). Brown said he hopes to clear up misunderstandings arising out of his June 30 WLS (Chicago, 890 AM) broadcast. Brown's comments provoked a barrage of complaints from the Hindu community. Both Brown and WLS radio received e-mails and phone calls from Hindus upset by the show, and the report published in India Tribune about it.




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Human Rights Activists Protest Nepal's Kumari
Posted on 2001/7/22 23:49:02 ( 777 reads )


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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, July 21, 2001: For the past 300 years, a succession of small girls have been chosen to become Kumari, or Nepal's living goddess -- a job that entails living in an ornate cloister, appearing at religious festivals on a chariot and retiring at the age of 11 with a small pension. But human rights activists are questioning the tradition now that the current Kumari has reached puberty, obliging her to step down. "Nepal has ratified the convention on the rights of the child. It says that you can't exploit children in the name of culture," said human rights lawyers, Sapana Pradhan-Malla. "And yet the Kumari is forced to give up her childhood. She has to be a goddess instead. Her rights are being violated." Opponents of the tradition point to the rituals involved in selecting the Kumari and the austere lifestyle the new goddess is expected to lead. Those calling for reform point to the uncomfortable fate of former Kumaris, who often find it difficult to adjust to their abrupt loss of status. Angana Shakya of Nepal's International Institute of Human Rights, Environment and Development, pointed out that, unlike the past, Kumari's now receive an education from private tutors. They were "highly respected" within their communities and revered by both Buddhists and Hindus across the Kathmandu valley, she said. Former Kumari's are no longer forbidden from marrying, she added. There are currently 11 former goddesses, one of whom has three children.




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Amarnath Pilgrimage Resumes, Central Government Team Visits Sheshnag
Posted on 2001/7/22 23:48:02 ( 680 reads )


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SRINAGAR, INDIA, July 22, 2001: The Amarnath pilgrimage, suspended for a day after 13 persons were killed near Sheshnag on Saturday, resumed today both from Jammu and Srinagar, according to an official spokesman. Over one thousand devotees worshipped at the shrine today. A central government team, led by the Union Minister of State for Home, Mr. I.D. Swami, visited Sheshnag and reviewed the situation with the Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Mr. G.C. Saxena, and other senior officials. Expressing shock over the incident, Mr. Swami assured the pilgrims that every step would be taken to ensure their safety. Mr. Saxena, who visited Sheshnag on Saturday gave a detailed account of the incident as also the measures taken to curb the militants.




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Cryer Defends "Learn English" Call
Posted on 2001/7/22 23:47:02 ( 660 reads )


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KEIGHLEY, ENGLAND, JULY 13, 2001: Ann Cryer, the Labour MP for Keighley, near Bradford, has defended her controversial call for immigrants to be compelled to learn English before they are allowed into the UK. Cryer has said inter-continental marriages in the Asian community were resulting in immigrants who could not speak English. "This limits participation in mainstream social and educational activities. I'm looking to get the support from the Asian community, more specifically from Asian parents, to consider when arranging the marriage of their child, thinking a little more about arranging a marriage with a young Muslim of UK origin," she said. After receiving criticism from religious leaders and politicians from the Muslim community, Cryer defended her views stating, "A great deal of poverty in the Asian communities in Bradford and Keighley is down to the fact that many of our Asian communities do not speak English or very little." Cryer added, "Sikhs and Hindus are doing extremely well both academically and economically and I think this is due to the fact that they don't pursue this practice." The government backed away from the controversy, with the prime minister's official spokesman welcoming the contribution that immigrants make to national life.




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Pakistan Migrants Hopeful of Summit Outcome
Posted on 2001/7/21 23:49:02 ( 636 reads )


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AGRA, INDIA, July 21, 2001: The India-Pakistan summit in Agra has raised new hopes among the Pakistani Sindhi Hindu migrants living in that city that the event may enable them to carry out trade with and travel to their former homeland. The city of Agra has nearly 60,000 Sindhi Hindus who fled to India from Pakistan after the violent partition of 1947. A community leader, Lal Chand Soni, says most Sindhis now have a comfortable home and profitable business -- trading in cloth, owning grocery stores and engaged in the shoe trade. Pakistan's Sindh province of Pakistan is the cradle of the Indus valley civilization and the Sindhi migrants have preserved their distinct cultural heritage. They have built their own temples and celebrate their own festivals. The older generation still uses the Arabic script and are more fluent in Urdu and Persian than Hindi, which is the local language.




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Bradford Racial Tensions Addressed in Lord Ouseley's Report
Posted on 2001/7/21 23:48:02 ( 650 reads )


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BRADFORD, UNITED KINGDOM, July 13, 2001: A report issued by Lord Ouseley and eleven other panelists reflects the stark reality of the Bradford community in the U.K. In a community where multicultural diversity should be creating a sense of mutual respect and tolerance, exactly the opposite is happening. Differences have resulted in intolerance, fear of gang culture and the drug trade, and harassment. Middle class white, Sikh, and Hindu citizens are moving out of the city leaving behind the poor white and Muslim minorities. Community and political leaders simply do not know how to rectify the problem. Lord Ouseley's report recommends, "that children and young people be prioritized as future leaders to spearhead improved communications with different ethnic and religious groups." In a proposal called the "people program" education will build trust and respect between all the communities involved and grants will be equally divided among all the communities to promote good race relations and improve unemployment.




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School in Bradford Teaches Tolerance
Posted on 2001/7/21 23:47:02 ( 710 reads )


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BRADFORD, UK, July 21, 2001: Following criticism of Bradford's "ethnically segregated" schools in the city's race review, Rhodesway school in Bradford could be a prototype for the sort of multiculturally tolerant school Herman Ouseley wants to see more of in the city. Ouseley's report said the fact that so many Bradford schools were overwhelming white or Asian was adding to racial tensions in the city. But Rhodesway School, in the Allerton district of west Bradford, draws its 1,900 pupils almost equally from the white and Asian communities, with some African Caribbean pupils too. Its head teacher, John Fowler, agreed with the race report's finding that many schools were in effect segregated, but said that was often more to do with the fact that so many were neighbourhood schools. "What we've got to do is to make a much higher profile for understanding other cultures, and if that starts in the junior schools then we can build in the secondary schools and try to gradually change the perceptions that people have."




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Ayodhya Exhibition Now Open in Delhi
Posted on 2001/7/21 23:46:02 ( 709 reads )


Source: Asian Age





NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 20, 2001: After eight long years, the Sahmat exhibition Hum Sab Ayodhya can now be displayed to the public. Extolling the evolution of Ayodhya, the public showing was originally put together by distinguished historians Mr. K.N. Panikkar, Irfan Habib, and Ravinder Kumar. Shortly after launching in 1993, the exhibition was banned by the state government who thought the content mocked the emotional idealism of the nation. A three-judge bench recently ordered the lifting of the ban on the exhibition. The public showing was commenced at the Constitution Club once again, amidst the playing of Sufi bhakti songs.




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Five Hindu Pilgrims Among Twelve Killed in Amarnath Blast
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:49:02 ( 673 reads )


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SRINAGAR, INDIA, July 21, 2001: Twelve people were killed in a big explosion near Sheshnag, 28 kilometers from southern Kashmir, on the heavily guarded route to the pilgrimage cave at Amarnath, victims of an attack by suspected Muslim separatist guerrillas. Among those killed were two police officers. The other casualties were a militant, three civilians and five pilgrims, including three women. The yatra has been temporarily suspended after the blast, with 300 pilgrims being stopped at Anantnag from going on to Pahalgam. No more pilgrims are being allowed to proceed from Jammu either. No guerrilla group claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack, the latest in a rash of violence across the Himalayan state.




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Hindus Try to Clean Taj Mahal After Pakistani President's Visit
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:48:02 ( 611 reads )


Source: Religion New Service





NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 21, 2001: More than a dozen members of the Shiv Sena party were arrested July 21 when they started to scrub the floors of the mausoleum with cow urine and water from the Ganges River, according to the Associated Press. Hindus hold both the river and cows as sacred. On July 15, the 17th century Muslim monument was visited by Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and his wife. A dubious theory circulates in India that the Taj Mahal was once a Hindu temple, perhaps prompting the attempted purification of the place built in the 17th century by Muslim emperor Shah Jehan for his wife.




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Parsis Turn to Solar Power to Dispose of Their Dead
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:47:02 ( 602 reads )


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BOMBAY, INDIA, JULY 18, 2001: The Parsi community of Bombay -- who leave their dead out in the open to be consumed by vultures -- have turned to science to aid them in their centuries-old ritual. The Bombay Parsi council has installed giant solar reflectors to speed-up the process of decomposition of corpses because there are not enough vultures around to consume the bodies. It is against the Parsis' Zoroastrian faith to either bury, burn or drown their dead. So the Parsi dead are disposed of by keeping the body in a "Tower of Silence." These large cylindrical towers are where the dead are left to be consumed by birds of prey. Because the vulture population has declined in numbers, apparently due to some kind of environmental poisoning, the bodies are left lying around for much longer. Although the solar reflectors have been successful, the long-term solution to the problem is the building of an aviary, where vultures will be bred in captivity.




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India Nationalists Denounce President Bush's Cat
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:46:02 ( 612 reads )


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BOMBAY, INDIA, July 19, 2001: Nationalists protested in front of the U.S. Consulate here Thursday, saying the name of President Bush's cat -- "India" -- was an insult and should be removed from the White House Web site. "Mr. President, don't make a mistake. Indians are lions not cats," read posters held up by some of the 30 activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party. "We feel that this is derogatory and the Web site should be corrected," said Mangal Prabhat Lodha, a state legislator and member of the party. "We happened to see the Web site where the cat is introduced along with other Bush family members. That's when we realized that George Bush's cat is called 'India,' " said Lodha. "No, we are not asking for renaming. We just want mention of the cat to be removed from the Web site," said Lodha. He handed a protest letter to a consulate official, who said it would be forwarded to the White House. The Web site -- http://whitehouse.gov/president/ -- contains a thumbnail sketch of Bush and introduces his wife, twin daughters and the family pets -- two dogs and a cat.




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Last Chance for Meat and Drink Before Shravan Observances
Posted on 2001/7/20 23:45:02 ( 643 reads )


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MUMBAI, INDIA, July 21, 2001: Yesterday was the last night of indulgence for meat-eaters as the one-month period of abstinence begins today with the onset of the month of Shravan. And indulge they did, according to this report in the Chalo Mumbai news web site. Manjunath Shetty, owner of Ashoka Restaurant & Bar in Dadar, said, "Business almost doubled today. It's only 10 pm, and already the chicken dishes are over. But these people are happy as long as they get anything non-vegetarian. We will be open longer than normal working hours." Ajit Lalani, owner of Sheetal Wines in Chembur, said, "We are happy with this huge rush. From tomorrow, in any case, we will be swatting flies for a month." Many are looking forward to the period of abstinence. Ananya Rao, a Thane housewife, said, "The abstinence will not only fulfill my religious duties, but also help me lose some weight." Rajesh Mahajan, a Navi Mumbai-based counsellor for drug and alcohol dependents, said, "Most consumers of alcoholic beverages, even confirmed alcoholics, take their pledge of abstinence quite seriously during this month. However, that is more than made up for during Ganesh Utsav festival."




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